A world of fantasy and wonders
By Tom Brown
As a small child after an afternoon shower walking alone along the road I saw a small dirty oily puddle with all kinds of magic colours flowing into each other and I saw the beauty of a rainbow's colours in the sky.
There was pain even that early, once I climbed out of my cot for the light and friendly voices, falling to the floor and crying and my mother came running to save me. Another time I fell off behind a bakkie (pick-up truck) I crawled out the street and on the pavement and sat there crying but they found me.
I injured my little hand badly in an accident with a shattered window pane there were some operations but weren't really successful my pinky is still bent and completely stiff. The hospital was not such a nice place and the anaesthetic gas was horrible "laughing gas" I think, was very unpleasant. Today they would have no problem with this it is routine.
My dad rode me from Mafeking some hours drive to Pretoria and 1Mil Hospital a few times for operations on my tiny hand. He felt very bad about the accident I think he blamed himself. Ok! Every stop a little matchbox car or a lucky packet. This remorse of his I believe is the reason I am alive today. Serious it was heavy no jokes he could be a monster.
This also is what I think made me love him so even with pain and wrong done to me and his temper. I have to admit he did hurt me and mercilessly but really was the drinking. I won't do such things and have never, but still, it definitely is Biblical as "spare the rod and spoil the child". There are a number of places in the good book of approval even instruction of this kind of violent discipline and is apparently allowed and necessary for boys. It is not for me to say. Nowhere is it written for women or children.
Great excitement for us kids were regular outings monuments and museums and visits to the zoo and ice-creams and cable cars and the movies. My one aunt was exceptionally nice. Little presents from my dad were many such as blowing soap bubbles, clap guns potato guns battery boats matchbox cars and a chocolate each every day coming back from work. On your birthday it was presents and kids' parties in joyful wild abandon. My mother knew how to throw a party that's for sure.
The wonders of Christmas! Sparkling and shiny decorations everywhere and Christmas Father stealing in while everyone was asleep. Gifts! My dad understood what a man needs. Not “practical” stupid stuff you can do without in any case. Lots of toys waiting under the tree and food and a grand lunch he cooked himself my dad pulled out all the stops it was a real feast and long remembered.
After a work trip to Germany my afrikaans grandfather usually came to visit us at home there were things like mechano sets he'd brought back and other things like cigars for my dad or fishing tackle or tools. All kinds of stuff. He was an engineer. My english grandpa worked as an artisan at the Round-trees factory those chocolates are even better without the wrappers. A regular package came through the post. He had fought in WW2.
As just a little kid I had a peddle-car present from my dad I was a demon (then already) over and over banging into the garage door to impress the little girlfriend. And later on had a custom made tricycle fastest on the block. Once my little battery boat almost got away my dad had to chase and swim Cook's lake to bring it back.
Even as early as this I knew what the difference was between men and women, women had these beautiful bumps on their chest and women didn't have ears. This observation probably resulted from the hair styles those days.
The lucid sense of smell and memories in childhood I can distinctly remember vividly things like the barber shop, a pub and brandy and beer and ashtrays, everywhere I went with my dad still very small. Trains and railway stations, the inside of new cars and new books and smells like mosquito coils and ozone from electricity.
And the sea. Only the sea can smell like the sea.